Steve McLaughlin (arsonisnoway) wrote,
Steve McLaughlin

A recent email to a friend:

Yes yes, like Uncle Ron and Uncle Andy. By the way, did I ever show you this?

It's from my grandmother's yearbook. She grew up in Pittsburgh and was in Warhol's graduating high school class. She worked in pastry shop, so Andy signed her yearbook "A sweet tooth friend." Unfortunately, my grandmother has no recollection of Warhol(a) whatsoever. She didn't even know he'd been in her class until my family saw a copy of her high school yearbook on display in the Warhol Museum a couple years back.

No monk visits yet, though I've had a couple varieties of "La Trappe," which is made at the only Dutch Trappist brewery. They probably have it at Monk's. Not bad. I'd go with the Dubbel. I'll probably take a train up to the monastery one of these days. And I should probably try get down to Dusseldorf in the coming month for a taste of the Oktoberfest action.

Nice touch on the facial hair semiotics. You could write a teaching guide -- 
Did you ever read the David Sedaris story in which he teaches writing at a community college and has his students write 'guessays' predicting the next Port Charles (or some such soap)? I think it was in 'Me Talk Pretty one Day'. I was pretty into Sedaris in high school.

Do send the Osman/Spahr wiki if it's something you can share. I'm curious about what this writing program will become. You're on the MFA track now, yeah?

I didn't know there was a Delaney doc. I guess it'll be online soon enough. Man, those two SubStance essays must be a gas.

Did I send you my set of KG tips? It takes some finagling to get things rolling at the beginning (eg downloading things you don't want for the sake up guaranteed upload ratio). Let me know if you need any help.

Rotterdam is amazing.  My social group, so far, includes French, Canadian, Dutch, Romanian, British, Israeli (x 2), Australian, Swiss, Portuguese, Italian, German, and a few of those Eastern European nationalities I'm always getting mixed up. It feels a bit like that Audrey Tatou movie "L'Auberge Espagnole" -- a bunch of international students living together, learning life lessons, etc. etc. That's an overly cute way of putting it, but this sort of multiplicity of languages and aesthetics and politics and personalities is quite new for me. I didn't study abroad, and I've never been to Europe before. That said, Dutch life is beginning to feel pretty normal. I'm getting over my initial giddy phase, in which I tried every new candy I found and bought things labeled "American Style" in the supermarket just to see what the Dutch think of us.

Yesterday I took a train to Eindhoven to see the Van Abbes museum. I think it's my new favorite art museum -- a ton (ton!) of Russian constructivist paintings, drawings, sculpture &c. The biggest El Lissitzky collection anywhere, including the ol' 'Red Wedge' graphic. Lots of contemporary work, a confusing and beautiful internal architecture, and a series of exhibits curated by artists. One going on while I was there was a shelf of old subculture how-to books and a working photocopier. So I have a few new things to hang on my wall. After the museum, we went to a performance involving a crowd of people standing around a huge flying-saucer-shaped building (the Philips Evoluon: and trying to telekinetically levitate it.

I just found an apartment last week, so I'll be living with an Israeli woman in my program and another person to be determined. If things go as planned, we might set up a guest room. I'll be moving in on the 25th. The rental agency isn't sure which unit they're going to put us in, so I don't have an address yet. It's a subsidized apartment -- thus, less than what I was paying in Philly for a really large two-floor space with a balcony and roof access. The only downside is that it's totally unfurnished -- so in addition to beds and couches we have to find an oven and fridge.

I've been here a month so far (staying with the art commune I mentioned), and classes don't start for another two weeks. So I've been spending a lot of time hanging around with fellow students and Kenny connections, and exploring the territory on two wheels. Last week I took a 100 km bike ride into the countryside. There really are windmills out there. Once you get out of the city, there are a few scattered suburbs, then just pure flat farmland from horizon to horizon for miles and miles. Land development is nationalized, so there's no sprawl problem here.

I have a few errands to run, so I should get going. Keep me posted on the Brotherly haps.


p.s. David Foster Wallace. Have you read C.S. Lewis's 'The Screwtape Letters'? It was apparently Wallace's favorite book. I just read it a few weeks ago (well, listened to John Cleese read it on tape).

Tags: epistle, rotterdam
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